Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Dizzy Gillespie Playing Mouth Harp to It Don't Mean a Thing

So much pleasure in such simple moments: The place is Nice in southeast France, the occasion, a jazz festival. The tap dancer Bunny Briggs appears on a stage where tenormen Eddie Lockjaw Davis and Guy Lafitte (accompanied by Jimmy Rowles, George Duvivier, and Oliver Jackson) are performing, dragging with him on stage Dizzy Gillespie who sits down and plays mouth harp to It Don't Mean a Thing. Briggs responds with his impeccable sense of rhythm. However, it is Dizz who draws his last and gives it a big surprise by doing his tap dance before leaving the stage.

This beautiful, five-minute long video, courtesy of French television, comes from the admirable YouTube channel of Hoffmannjazz whose collection of jazz videos is a must for anyone interested in this music.

In the meantime, don't miss this one:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Lionel Hampton Big Band in Nice, 1978

Lionel Hampton [photo source: MTV]
For years I've regretted losing my VHS tape of the complete Lionel Hampton birthday party concert at North Sea Jazz Festival in Hague, a big band event of highest caliber which introduced me to some the best instrumentalists in jazz, people such as Pepper Adams, Arnett Cobb (playing with crutches under his arms), and Harry Sweets Edison.

Now, thanks to Hoffmannjazz YouTube channel, I am able to see a filmed footage of the orchestra in Nice, France, playing M Squad Theme a week before they took the North Sea stage.

This is an absolutely stellar line-up with solos given to Ray Bryant, Joe Newman (A few choruses are off-mike), Kai Winding, Charles MacPherson, Pepper Adams, Cobb, Cat Anderson, and Billy Mackel.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Shape Of Plastics in Jazz

The cover of one Hawksworth's albums
The Shape Of Plastics (1962), directed by industrail documentary specialist Alan Pendry, features a good jazz score by Johnny Hawksworth (1924-2009). Originally shown at Berlin Film Festival, Moscow Film Festival and a festival in Bilbao, the film offers an enjoyable (and sometimes rhythmic) account of how a material as crude as oil is turned into fantastic plastic shapes.

The director Alan Pendry, if now largely forgotten, had worked with Iranian Ebrahim Golestan on a classic documentary Wave, Coral, and Rock (1958-61), about oil industry in southwest Iran. The Shape Of Plastics is one of the few Pendry's documentaries which still can be accessed and seen these days.

As for soundtrack, the Johnny Hawksworth score features Ronnie Verrell and Jock Cummings (percussion), Roy Willox (flute alto), David Snell (harp), Derek Warne (vibes), Brian Dee (piano), and Johnny Hawksworth (bass).